9/29/2013 10:34 P.M. ET
Shuck has solid case for AL ROY Award
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The regular-season finale has come, and very little has changed about Angels left fielder J.B. Shuck. He hasn't fallen off, and he's still a legit candidate for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Shuck -- signed to a Minor League contract in November, shortly after getting released by the Astros -- entered Sunday leading AL rookies in hits (126), runs (60), total bases (158), doubles (20) and multihit games (36), while adding a .291/.329/.365 slash line.
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (.305/.351/.388), Rays outfielder Wil Myers (.293/.352/.476), Indians reliever Cody Allen (2.43 ERA in 77 games) and Rangers starter Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA) are among the candidates, but nobody has really run away with the award like Mike Trout did last year.
Asked what he thinks his chances are to get the award, though, Shuck said: "Uh, zero?
"I don't know. I don't look at the numbers. I know a couple of guys have had some pretty good years. … If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, like I said earlier, I appreciate how the Angels have campaigned and done that. So that's been a good feeling, to know that they support me. But me, I'd rather win games than win an individual award."
Scioscia hasn't heard if he'll be back in '14
ARLINGTON -- The sentiment around the organization is that Mike Scioscia's job is safe for 2014. But on the morning of the regular season's final game on Sunday, the Angels' manager, who's finishing his 14th year at the helm, said he hasn't been given any assurances.
"I haven't heard one way or the other, really," Scioscia said. "I'm sure that at some point they're going to let us know."
Scioscia, under contract through 2018, said his up-in-the-air job status is "not an issue at all." General manager Jerry Dipoto, signed through only 2014, said recently he's "not going to get into it" when asked where he stands for next year. The two were slated to be on the charter flight back to Southern California on Sunday night, along with the entire front office and coaching staff.
What happens when they land remains to be seen.
"It's not an issue," Scioscia said again. "It really isn't. It's going to be addressed at some point. I'm sure it's going to be addressed before February."
Dipoto and Scioscia are nonetheless moving forward with what needs to be corrected as the Angels finish out a fourth consecutive season without a playoff appearance. The coaching staff has already completed its evaluations of the on-field roster and the front office is slated to have organizational meetings on Oct. 10.
The 2013 season marked only the fourth losing season since Scioscia took over in 2000. Heading into the final day, the Angels ranked fourth in the Majors in OPS (.744), seventh in runs (731), tied for 22nd in starting-pitcher ERA (4.30), tied for 24th in relief-pitcher WHIP (1.35) and 27th in Defensive Runs Saved (minus-62).
Scioscia's main focus, if indeed he is back, is to find a way to get the Angels off to better starts, after going 9-17 this past April and dropping 14 of the first 20 in 2012.
As for how he'd evaluate the job he did this season?
"We're all accountable for some things that haven't worked out, and I certainly am," Scioscia said. "I think there are some things that, through the rearview mirror, you can look at it and say that wasn't the direction we needed to go. But I think our staff did a great job of evaluating these guys, which is the most important thing that we do, trying to get some continuity in what was a very, at times, thin bullpen, and our rotation, which took a while to get together. You can see why we put so much time into trying to get it going early because of the impact it has on a team. And we worked really hard on that."
Trout doesn't expect to wind up AL MVP
ARLINGTON -- Mike Trout isn't very confident he'll win the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
"I think it's going to be another thing like last year," he said. "I can't take it away from [Miguel] Cabrera. He won the division, is going to the playoffs and we're heading home after the game. That's a big contribution, being on a winning team."
Trout homered off Yu Darvish in the first inning of Sunday's regular-season finale, his towering solo shot to straightaway center field giving him 27 on the year and going for hit No. 190. The 22-year-old outfielder entered Sunday ranked second in the AL in batting average (.324) and on-base percentage (.432), fourth in slugging (.559), first in walks (109) and runs (109), while adding 33 steals, 97 RBIs and leading the Majors in Wins Above Replacement, as calculated by FanGraphs.com (10.2).
But Cabrera leads the Majors in all three triple-slash-line categories, at .348/.442/.636, and has better power numbers, with 44 homers and 137 RBIs. Besides, as Trout mentioned, Cabrera's Tigers are AL Central champs and the Angels aren't sniffing the playoffs.
It's really the same scenario that played out last year (minus Chris Davis' Major League-leading 53 home runs).
"It's almost the same exact thing, though last year we were in it longer," said Trout, a unanimous selection for the AL Rookie of the Year Award and a runner-up for the MVP in 2012. "It's frustrating. But you have to look at the positives. We had a bunch of young guys come and fill some spots."
After Sunday's game, Trout will fly to his parents' home in Millville, N.J., where he'll once again spend his offseason, and he will look into purchasing a house somewhere in South New Jersey to call his own. In a couple weeks, he'll start working out again. Shortly after Christmas, he'll swing a bat. And through it all, he'll hunt, fish, play golf, watch his Philadelphia Eagles and mostly stay away from postseason baseball, unless there's a Game 7 or Torii Hunter is playing.
One thing he won't spend too much time on, he says, is thinking about when the Angels will give him a contract extension.
"The time will come," said Trout, who isn't even arbitration-eligible until after the 2014 season. "I'm not thinking about it. I'm just going in the offseason and get ready for Spring Training."
• Josh Hamilton went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in Sunday's finale, extending his hitting streak to a season-high 14 games and finishing his first year in Anaheim with a .250 batting average -- 33 points higher than where he was 36 games earlier.
"To where I was a month and a half ago, it's something to be proud of," Hamilton said. "It wasn't the year I wanted, but you talk about finishing strong, and I felt like I finished a lot better. Obviously still not my caliber of play, but a lot better than it was."
• Trout's solo homer in the first inning -- his fourth against Yu Darvish and 27th on the year -- gave him 190 hits in 2013, joining Ty Cobb and Lenny Dykstra as the only players since 1900 with at least 190 hits, 100 walks and 30 steals in a season. Trout also drew his AL-leading 110th walk, joining Tony Phillips (113 in 1995) and Troy Glaus (112 in 2000) as the only players to reach that number in Angels history.
Trout's .432 on-base percentage is a new franchise record, passing Tim Salmon and Chili Davis, both of whom posted a .429 mark in 1995. Trout and Willie Mays are the only players with two seasons of a .320 batting average, 25 homers and 30 steals -- at any age, and not necessarily back-to-back.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.